A man who gardaí allege was “stockpiling weaponry” in his home in Limerick was granted bail on Tuesday on charges of possession of an improvised firearm and a single round of ammunition.
A Garda search of Michael O’Callaghan’s home in Distillery View, Thomondgate, last Sunday, unearthed an assortment of suspicious items, Limerick District Court heard.
Garda Aoife Keane of Mayorstone Park Garda station told the bail hearing that gardaí found a machete, an improvised handgun, a round of ammunition, a bulletproof vest, two air rifles, a small quantity of suspected cocaine, drug paraphernalia, and a jar containing 6mm calibre pellets for use in an air rifle.
Gardaí found some of the items beneath a bed in Mr O’Callaghan’s bedroom.
Two of the items, including a .22 calibre “rimfire” improvised handgun, as well as a single round of .22 calibre long-rifle ammunition, were found in a jacket hanging off a stairway inside the house, which was occupied by two children at the time.
Mr O’Callaghan is charged with possession of the .22 calibre improvised gun and .22 calibre round of ammunition “in suspicious circumstances” last Sunday.
Garda Keane said the accused told gardaí following his arrest that he had amassed a “significant drug debt” to unidentified people and that he was facing “a threat to his life”.
Garda Keane claimed Mr O’Callaghan also told gardaí that he was “willing” to use the improvised firearm to “protect” himself and his family.
She said gardaí believed he was “stockpiling weaponry” and that this posed “a danger to the local community”.
Garda Keane objected to bail “because of the nature and seriousness of the offences” and that it was her “belief” that, if granted bail, Mr O’Callaghan would commit serious offences.
She said the improvised gun which the accused is charged with having in his possession, was a “viable” firearm, though it failed to fire due to a missing spring when it was tested by a Garda ballistics officer.
Garda Keane agreed with Mr O’Callaghan’s solicitor, John Herbert, that the items exhibited by gardaí “were all found within the confines of the house” and “there was no evidence that they were produced outside of the house”.
“There is no evidence that (the accused) was ever going to embark on a spree outside of the house,” Mr Herbert told the court.
Granting bail, the judge said the accused would have to abide by a number of terms, including that he continue to reside at his family home, obey a nightly curfew, surrender his passport and not apply for any travel documents, commit no offences and be of good behaviour, and be available to gardaí 24 hours a day via a charged and in-credit mobile phone number.
Judge Harney told Mr O’Callaghan that if he failed to answer his phone, this would be considered a breach of his bail terms and he would be taken into custody.
Mr O’Callaghan was remanded on bail to appear before Limerick District Court on April 19th.